Caddie Woodlawn is the story of author Carol Ryrie Brink’s grandmother’s life as a pioneer girl in Wisconsin. A Newbery Medal-winning book, it is most deserving of its accolades and awards. A similar setting to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life, but with quite a different main character, this book is full of wonderful prairie experiences. From playing pranks on their visiting cousin, to stopping a fire from destroying their schoolhouse, Caddie and her brothers have quite the time enjoying life as pioneers. Caddie is quite mischievous and is given the freedom to roam around and explore, during a time when most young girls would be staying home and learning to cook, clean and mend clothing. The character of her parents is astounding, as they teach their children to be caring and independent young people.
In a time and age where children are very rarely left to explore and roam around their own neighborhoods, reading about Caddie and her siblings was refreshing. Oh, to live in a time where helping to plow the family fields was considered a privilege and entertainment consisted of listening to your older brother’s stories. I hope that when I do become a mother, that I will be willing to let my children be mischievous and explore, and that I will teach them what it truly means to be a young woman or man.
by Carol Ryrie Brink
Originally published in 1935